I've been having a little bit of a debate with one of my friends about the correct use of a word. I hope the native English speakers can help me put an end to this :)

I know the word "bold" is mostly used as in brave and courageous, but is it right to use it as prominent, too?

This aspect of this issue seems bolder than the rest.

Can it be used like this or is it meaningless?

  • 1
    @Heartspring In dictionary it's stated that it can mean: noticeable and prominent, too but the example referred to headlines, colors and etc. I wanted to know if it's right in the sentence I wrote above.
    – dimmie
    Nov 18 at 18:24
  • 3
    It's not meaningless but it's not terribly idiomatic. You could probably use it in some contexts.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 18 at 18:33
  • 1
    Alternatives would be "seems more striking" or "is more salient" if you wish to state things more boldly.
    – TimR
    Nov 18 at 22:28
  • I’m voting to close this question because unless we know a lot more about "the issue" it's impossible to say whether it could include "bold aspects". Nov 18 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


'Bold' can mean courageous as you stated, but that usage is a little old-fashioned - we are far more likely to say 'brave' in modern English. I'm not saying that use of 'bold' is archaic or out of use, but it's associated with past times, like times of chivalry - we'd say that a knight was bold, but a modern soldier was brave.

More often than not, 'bold' in modern speech means highly ambitious, or supremely confident. For example, a 'bold attempt' could mean an attempt that was risky but successful, or one that was highly ambitious but failed.

In either case, boldness is a human quality, and while it can be used as an adjective to describe something abstract (eg 'a bold attempt') the suggestion is that the persons behind it were the confident, optimistic ones. It would be helpful to know the wider context of what you are trying to say, but at the moment it doesn't sound right - I don't see how an 'issue' (or an aspect of it) can be bold, because an issue is a situation, not an action or an attempt. And there would need to be someone behind the action to ascribe the boldness to.

  • +1 Nice answer, but maybe you could also discuss the usage of "bold" with regards to formatting? Like, the end of the previous sentence may well have seemed bolder than the rest, because it is :D While I agree that OP's sentence isn't idiomatic, it seems like a discussion of why it isn't should also mention why this definition of "bold" doesn't fit either. Nov 19 at 3:46
  • 1
    @QuackE.Duck I did think about that, but the OP's quote said 'bolder', not 'bold', and I don't think it is normal to refer to formatting that way. When it comes to text, something either is bold, or it isn't. You might use it as a comparative when comparing colours, say. But nothing in the question suggests that is what is meant.
    – Astralbee
    Nov 19 at 9:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .